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Honors Program

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Honors Program

The Honors program at Bethel University challenges academically gifted students to develop their capacities for analysis, composition, research, and critical thinking in order to increase their preparation for the duties incumbent upon education and achievement.

The course of study embraced by the Honors program both deepens the appreciation of all things human and promotes an interdisciplinary understanding of the contemporary world. As such, the Honors program is a perfect complement to the Bethel University mission of helping you become you.

We admit a limited number of highly qualified applicants each academic year to take part in our program. Honors students move through the program as a cohort in courses that are taught by highly qualified faculty designed explicitly for the program. Honors courses seek to challenge students to develop both written and oral skills on a daily basis through classroom discussions, source analysis, debate, and a significant writing component.

At Bethel, and especially in Honors, students will develop strong bonds with professors and Honors peers as they move through the program. Your professors will strive to get to know you, your goals, and help you develop plans for bringing them into focus. Bethel Honors graduates have gone on to professional school, law school, and a host of successful careers.


Our curriculum is designed to facilitate the development of critical thinking, verbal expression, and writing skills. Each course helps to fulfill a Liberal Arts Core Requirement so that students can participate in Honors while simultaneously completing core requirements. Course material is regularly updated, and faculty members are encouraged to challenge students and be creative about the ways in which they engage students in an Honors setting.

Freshman and Sophomore Courses

During freshman and sophomore year, students will take the following courses:

Students Choose 2 of the following 3:

Junior and Senior Courses

During junior or senior year, students will take the following course:

Senior Courses

During senior year, students will complete a senior project of their design over two courses:

Continued Participation in the Program

Honors students are asked to maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average in both Honors courses and overall to continue in the program. Students who fall slightly short of the mark will be placed on a semester of probation to raise their GPA while those who fall well short of the mark (below 2.5) will be asked to leave the program following the freshman year.


Honors students at Bethel receive many benefits for continued participation in the program.

  • Scholarship
    • Each student in the Honors program is eligible to receive a scholarship of $10,000 for their continued participation and good standing in the program. Honors students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in both Honors courses and overall to continue in the program.
  • Early Registration
    • Honors students are always able to register on the first available day and do not have to wait until their designated week. They will always have their first choice in courses and, therefore, will be more easily able to make schedules that cater to their preferences throughout their college career.
  • Honors Advising
    • Honors students are all assigned to the Honors Director for one on one advising, which continues throughout the program. Your Honors advisor will work with you along with your major advisor to guide you through the program, help make decisions about courses, and help present you with challenging and meaningful professional development opportunities along the way.
  • Study Lounge
    • Honors students have access to an Honors study lounge where they can study, write papers, or work on group projects. The room is equipped with a printer, microwave, comfortable seating, and a dry erase board.
  • Professional Development
    • Honors students work closely with both Honors professors and those in their major throughout the program. These personal relationships help faculty members provide meaningful feedback about students when they are asked to provide references or write letters for admission to graduate, law, or medical schools. When students graduate from Bethel Honors, they will have strong and detailed feedback and recommendations from the faculty who know them best.
  • Leadership Opportunities
    • Each year, the program elects an Executive Board, which helps to drive and plan the program’s activities for the following academic year. Members of the board are tasked with making decisions about the program’s future, spending our budget, and keeping our alumni in the loop.
  • Honors Activities
    • Honors students are invited to participate in activities within the program, both educational and recreational. Over the past 5 years, we have gone bowling, hosted many trivia nights, competed in a Homecoming Tailgate competition, and visited the Jackson Escape Rooms.
  • Meet Motivated Peers
    • "Honors students often develop strong friendships that last well beyond their time here at Bethel. Being a member of Bethel Honors can certainly help you in a host of academic pursuits, but perhaps more importantly, motivated students can find like-minded peers here in the program." -Dan Dalrymple, Former Honors Director

Requirements and Application

Students entering the Bethel University Honors program must have a minimum 3.5 high school GPA and an ACT of at least 23. Because our program is reading and writing intensive, we pay special attention to English and reading scores, and many Honors students will far exceed these minimum benchmarks.

Students who do not meet the minimum standard are encouraged to reach out to the Honors Director, Dr. Alex DeBonis, regarding their potential candidacy for the program. Please note that Honors is compatible with participation in athletics or renaissance. Participation in Honors will not prevent students from taking advantage of other opportunities available at Bethel.

Apply for the Honors Program

Meet the Director

Dr. Alex DeBonis
DFAB 115
325 Cherry Ave., McKenzie, TN 38201